“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. – John 21:3-4 (NIV)
I like to watch videos about how things are made…or at least that is what the algorithms that control my Facebook feed and DISH channel selections seem to indicate. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of videos and shows that involve working with bending wood for things like violins or guitars, boats, baskets, fine furniture and lots of other things.
It is fascinating to see how a strong, rigid piece of wood with heat, steam and moisture becomes pliable and flexible enough to be shaped into the most unique shapes. The craftsperson patiently applies the heat, steam and moisture and then using jigs or clamps forms the wood into the desired shape. Then walking away and allowing the wood to cure into that shape, the craftsman will come back and refine or further shape the piece if it doesn’t set up quite right!
I wonder if that is a part of the story of the Breakfast by the Sea?
Peter had been a project for the Master Craftsman for some time as He gently tried to make the fisherman into a “Fisher of Men”. He had worked with Peter to teach him servant leadership and loving compassion for others. He had smoothed the rough edges of this working man while all along recognizing and enhancing the innate qualities of His medium, Peter’s ability to lead others and his natural passion. Jesus was careful not to break the piece, but to continue to shape it into what He, the Master wanted and desired.
But then, during the curing period, Peter’s nature took over and he couldn’t just wait for Jesus to reappear. He decided to go fishing, and being the leader that he was, six others of the disciples went with him.
This was not necessarily wrong… but it was springing back to the shape from which the Master had begun to create His masterpiece… back to a fisherman. And so the Master showed up on the shore, ready to reheat, reshape, restore.
Notice what Peter did when he recognized that it was the Master at work…he recovered himself… a sign of respect and of recognition of his falling short of Jesus’ expectations for him. He immediately went to Jesus, diving into the water despite having just put back on the cloak. And he again began to listen to and obey the commands of Jesus.
And Jesus immediately began to reform the disciple by again modeling servant leadership, preparing the food on the seashore, sharing the meal with them to remind them of His physical flesh and blood presence and then pulling Peter aside to further shape him into the “Fisher of Men” with the infamous “Feed My Sheep” dialogue.
It is amazing to watch a master craftsman at work shaping a hard, rigid piece of material into a violin that resonates heavenly sounds. It is even more amazing to see the Master Craftsman rework the hard, rigid fisherman into a Fisher of Men.
Prayer: Jesus, you who are the Master Craftsman, make me into an instrument of your desire. Use me to not just make heavenly music, but to help build the Kingdom itself, piece by piece, person by person. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Steve Van Ostran